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Port Chester tow truck driver saves overdose victims who crashed (NY)


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Two men are still alive because of a part-time tow truck driver from Port Chester. 

Heriberto Virella was making routine checks along Interstate 287 at 2 a.m. Friday. It was toward the end of his shift at Hannigan's Towing and Auto Body but he couldn't sleep, so took one last ride to look for potentially stranded cars. 

Around 2:15 a.m., he was driving westbound when he heard a crash on the eastbound side just past Exit 8. 

"I swung around to find the truck with two occupants," Virella said. "The passenger was slumped over with his head between his legs. The driver was passed out and slumped over the wheel. He had drool or was foaming from his mouth."

He notified the Thruway dispatch, and troopers, who were conducting a traffic stop nearby, quickly arrived and administered NARCAN. Local first responders also arrived and rushed the victims to the hospital.  

"The EMTS told us, 'These two guys would've been dead if it wasn't for him,'" said Tom Hannigan, who owns the Port Chester shop. 

"Mr. Hannigan said what I did was heroic, but I really didn’t do anything," Virella said. "The first responders did everything. They’re the heroes. I didn’t go anything heroic."

Virella was one of the Port Chester firefighters who lost his job when the village eliminated the paid fire department in 2016 and hasn't been able to land with another department. 

He's been working part-time jobs while staying in shape and pushing to be a firefighter again. He said he recently re-certified for the Candidate Physical Abilities Test. 

"I'm not giving up," he said.


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